Thursday 24 May 2018

'It was like a bomb going off' - Woman injured after sunroof blew off car awarded €16k in damages

Stock photo: Rui Vieira/PA Wire
Stock photo: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

Ray Managh

A 48-year-old receptionist, who was injured when the sunroof in her sister’s car blew away while travelling on the M1, has been awarded €16,000 damages in the Circuit Civil Court.

Anna Kavanagh, of Crannogue Close, Ballymun, Dublin, had sued Denis Mahony Limited, Klilbarrack Road, Dublin 5, on the grounds of negligence in the sale of a car which was expected “to be fit for purpose and of merchantable quality and free from defects.”

Barrister John Nolan, who appeared with Kent Carty Solicitors for Kavanagh, told the court Ms Kavanagh was a passenger in her sister’s car in November 2013 when the sun roof blew off.

Mr Nolan said liability in the case involving four other adults had already been dealt with by the court when 72-year-old widow and Ms Kavanagh’s mother, Kathleen Boylan, of Balbutcher Lane, Poppintree, Dublin, had been awarded €25,000 last week.

Ms Boylan’s sister, 43-year-old Pamela Boylan of Hampton Wood Road, Finglas, Dublin, who had been driving the car, was also awarded €12,500 damages last week.

Today Friday, Ms Kavanagh, told the court she had been thrown forward in the car when it braked abruptly after the incident and injured her lower back.  At the time her doctor had prescribed pain killers and a muscle relaxant.

Mr Nolan said the five adults in the car were all related and the family was on their way to Newry, Co Down, for a pre-Christmas Shopping when the accident happened.  Two little children had escaped injury.

The court had already heard “it was like a bomb going off in the car when the air rushed in.”

Circuit Court President, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke, had decided in last week’s case that there had been a serious defect in the car which had resulted in a catastrophic failure of the sun roof.  He said corrosion around the frame of the sun roof could have been found had there been a full and adequate pre-sale inspection.

Today’s claim by Ms Kavanagh, as a result of the court’s previous decision, was dealt with only as an assessment of damages for personal injuries.

The court had earlier accepted that the sun roof flying off at 90 kilometres an hour would have been a shocking and frightening experience and it was understandable that the driver’s immediate reaction would have been to slam on the brakes, jolting the passengers forwards and then backwards.

John Beirne, customer services manager at Denis Mahony, had earlier told the court that the condition of the sun roof in a pre-sale inspection would have come under the heading of an electricals check on the car.

David Geary, an independent motor assessor, had given evidence of finding corrosion around the remaining frame of the sun roof.  He said if Denis Mahony’s garage had inspected the roof adequately the corrosion would have been visible prior to the sale of the car.

Costs were also awarded against the defendant.

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